The Red Sox officially began workouts today, and they have also made another roster move to improve their pitching depth. The team announced Thursday afternoon that they had claimed right-handed reliever John Schreiber off waivers from the Tigers. To make room on the 40-man roster, Chris Sale was placed on the 60-day injured list.
The #RedSox today claimed RHP John Schreiber off waivers from the Tigers.— Red Sox (@RedSox) February 18, 2021
To make room on the 40-man roster, the Red Sox placed LHP Chris Sale on the 60-day injured list.
Schreiber is a right-handed sidearm-throwing reliever who will turn 27 in a few weeks. The former Tiger was drafted by Detroit in the 15th round back in 2016 as a pure reliever coming out of the University of Northwestern Ohio. After being drafted he made his way fairly quickly through the Tigers farm system, showing off good strikeout stuff and solid command, putting up strong numbers all the way up the ladder. His most recent minor-league experience was in 2019 when he tossed 59 1⁄3 innings at Triple-A, pitching to a 2.28 ERA with 70 strikeouts (29 percent rate) and 21 walks (nine percent).
That was good enough to earn him his first taste of big-league ball towards the end of that 2019 season. Schreiber tossed 13 innings for Detroit in 2019 and then came back and threw 15 2⁄3 more in 2020. In those 28 2⁄3 career major-league innings, he has pitched to a 6.28 ERA with 33 strikeouts (26 percent) and eight walks (six percent). The ERA is certainly ugly, but the peripherals (4.21 FIP) paint him in a better light over this small sample.
As mentioned above, Schreiber comes at hitters with a sidearm motion which is always good to add to deception. It’s worth noting that the Rays, where Chaim Bloom obviously was before Boston, have made a habit of targeting these kinds of pitchers. He doesn’t come with big velocity, with a fastball sitting in the 89-92 range, but he also throws a curveball and a changeup that have each missed bats with varying success in his short major-league stints. The righty has a couple of minor-league options left, so he’ll presumably be slated for Triple-A to start the season and will serve as bullpen depth throughout the year.
As for Sale, the move to the 60-day injured list was always expected. The Red Sox ace met with the media over Zoom this morning and mentioned that he was on track for his normal rehab timeline, though the team was in control of that more than he is. He also mentioned that he had tested positive for COVID, but for the most part his symptoms weren’t too bad.
With this move, the Red Sox 40-man is full, which is notable because Marwin Gonzalez still needs to be officially added. It had been the presumption here that Sale’s move to the 60-day would open up the space for Gonzalez, but that obviously can’t be the case now. The players who remain on the roster that are most likely to be designated for assignment or traded in a minor deal to make room are Marcus Walden and Marcus Wilson.